MOSCOW, October 4. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow never stoops to double dealing in its relations with other countries and this is precisely why foreign partners prefer to cooperate with Russia.
"I will tell you this. You may believe me or not, or you may go and ask our partners. It is our advantage we never indulge in double dealing in relations with anybody. We are always honest in relations with our partners and openly explain our position," Putin told the international energy effectiveness forum Russian Energy Week.
"If we disagree with something, we say so frankly and outline our position. We also say that we do keep our partners’ stance in mind and respect it, but that we will opt for a mode of action," Putin said.
In his opinion "in this respect we have a tremendous advantage, because we are predictable, unlike many other countries."
"It is this feature, and not our military potential, that attracts our partners to fostering relations with Russia," Putin said. "Naturally, the military potential and economic capabilities do play a very important role, sometimes a decisive one. But our growing defense and security capabilities and the potential of our defense-industrial complex are not the only things that matter. Traditionally, we sell large amounts of weapons to markets in the Middle East, because we have very friendly relations with many countries of the region that go way back. But we also develop economic cooperation with them," Putin said.
Putin views the critical problem of income inequality between the rich and the poor not as a political blunder but as a trend that surfaced after the economic "shocks" of the 1990s. "This is not just a mistake, but more of a tendency in the development of the Russian economy and the social sphere," he stressed.
"This tendency is not good, by the way, and it appeared at the beginning of the 1990s, during the demise of the Soviet social system and the rise of market relations that were linked to ‘shock therapy,’" the president emphasized. "That’s where it evolved from gradually," Putin said.
"This is a real problem that we definitely should address," he admitted.
Lately, Russia’s trade with Middle Eastern countries has been expanding even despite the economic problems we encountered two or three years ago. Trade turnover was up 12.5% in the first six months of 2017, which is exactly the same figure for 2016.
"Trade is rather diversified. We do business with these countries [in the Middle East] that produce energy resources, so machinery, equipment and high-tech products account for a significant amount of our trade relations," Putin pointed out.
"Currently, at a time when in the context of short-sighted policies by some countries we had to take counter-measures against sanctions imposed on us the market of farm produce has opened up to many countries in the Middle East and they eagerly used that opportunity and have been building cooperation with us in the field of agriculture," Putin said.
"We look to the future of Russian-Saudi relations and relations with other countries in the region with confidence," Putin said. On the list of partners he mentioned Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Turkey, Syria and Iran.
"They [relations] are balanced and this will help us build them up in the future," Putin explained.
He believes it is only natural that various countries conduct their own independent policies.
"When we cultivate relations with any country, we keep that in mind. We do make allowances for this condition, but it is not a hindrance to us in building relations with these states," Putin added. He recalled that in the Soviet era the opportunities for cooperation were rather limited due to various "dogmatic stereotypes and Soviet ideological doctrines."
"There is nothing of the sort these days. We are open to cooperation and our partners can see that," Putin said.